Written By: Benjamin Goldman, Esq.
The term “roadside reduction” refers to a situation where the police officer that pulled you over decides to issue a lower-level ticket than what they could have issued. This manifests itself in a number of different ways:
- The classic example is where an officer clocks you at speeding 85 mile per hour in a 65 mph zone, but issues a ticket for speeding 75 mph in a 65 mph zone. This reduces the points and the possible fine. The minimum points for a speeding violation is 3 points.
- Another example is where an officer stops you for speeding but instead issues a ticket for VTL 1110(a), “Disobeying a Traffic Control Device”. This is better roadside reduction than sample 1. It takes you out of a speeding ticket and reduces the violation to two points.
- Often we see motorists charged with “Failure to Use Four Way Flashers” as a roadside reduction. This is also a two-point ticket, similar to VTL 1110(a). A motorist is supposed to turn on their hazard lights when pulled over on the side of the road. When the motorist fails to turn on their hazards the officer will just issue a ticket for that violation, instead of the original violation (which is usually more serious).
- The best roadside reductions are where officers issue a violation to a no-point ticket that does not appear on your driving record and will not impact your insurance rates. Some examples include parking tickets, tint tickets, and most types of equipment violations.
- A highly consequential roadside reduction is where an officer charges you with driving without a license (VTL 509-1) instead of driving with a suspended license (VTL 511-1(a)). Driving without a license is a 0-point ticket and driving with a suspended license is a criminal offense. Although 509-1 will appear on your driving record and impact your insurance rates (despite not having points), it is much better than a criminal charge.
As a traffic ticket defense firm, we are very often faced with a situation where a motorist reaches out to us after already having received a roadside reduction. There is nothing wrong with this. There is no reason to have points on your license if they can be avoided. When a motorist receives a ticket for something that does not appear on a driving record at all, then our advice is to simply plead guilty to the charge. It does not make sense to fight a charge or hire an attorney to fight a charge that amounts to or is literally a parking ticket. However, when you get a reduction to something that has points or will appear on your driving record then it makes sense to look into fighting the charge.
The two impediments to getting another reduction is the charging officer and the prosecutors. Often police officers take it as a personal affront if you plead Not Guilty to a charge that they already reduced. Sometimes officers tell motorists that they will issue a ticket for the original charge if you dispute the ticket. Hiring an attorney takes most of the air out of this threat. A traffic ticket has to be issued to you personally. If you hire a law firm, your attorney can go to court instead of you, thereby mostly avoiding the risk of the officer issuing another ticket. If you live far away from where you got the ticket, you have little to worry that the officer will travel to your house, look for you, and then charge you with a more serious traffic violation.
The prosecutor is the second impediment. Often prosecutors are not inclined to issue a plea bargain
offer subsequent to a roadside reduction. The attorneys at the Benjamin Goldman Law Office do not let
this get in our way. Our position is that we only deal with the charge that we have, not
what the officer could have charged. We do not know the reason for the alleged roadside reduction. For
all we know, the reason for the reduction was that the officer was not certain of the guilt of the
defendant. We put the prosecutor’s officer in a position where they will have to conduct a trial unless
they provide a further plea offer. Prosecutors generally do not conduct a trial without presenting a plea
offer. The attorneys at the Benjamin Goldman Law Office take trials very seriously and we will appeal
and adverse ruling inconsistent with the law.
If you received a ticket that appears to be a roadside reduction, feel free to contact the Benjamin
Goldman Law Office for a free consultation. We will review the charges and advise what makes sense for
your specific circumstances. Often it makes sense to plead guilty and often it makes no sense to plead
guilty. Often the charges can still be dismissed and often it is a tough court battle to obtain a further
reduction. No two situations are the same, which is why is makes sense to consult with an experienced
traffic lawyer before you take action with regards to your traffic ticket.